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Hibernation: Poikilotherms

By Hibernation Poikilotherms, Kenneth B. Storey and Janet M. Storey


Introduction For cold-blooded or poikilothermic animals, winter presents challenges to survival. Since the body temperature (Tb) of poikilotherms is usually very close to that of their surrounding environment, the risk of death from freezing is very real when temperatures drop below 0C. Food is also scare during the winter and some animals also have limited mobility because the cold can make muscle movements slow or even induce a cold coma. It is not surprising, then, that few poikilothermic animals are active during the winter but protective measures must be in place to allow survival of prolonged cold exposures over a hibernation season that may stretch as long as 9-10 months in polar and alpine regions. Thermogenesis Although thermogenesis defines the warm-blooded lifestyle and is the reason that many birds and mammals remain active in winter, there is only one known example of poikilotherms that keep themselves warm in the winter by producing metabolic heat an

Year: 2001
DOI identifier: 10.1038/npg.els.0003214
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